It is critically important that the local aged care hubs have the responsibility of assisting, informing and advising prospective residents about the various options available to them locally. The employed oversight staff should either participate in this or at the very least play an important advisory role.
Locally informed advisors
Those helping recipients of services make choices should be brought as closely as possible into contact with those who are assessing services and know what they are like. If the community and its members, including families and residents, are to be effective customers, they must know exactly what is happening and make their choices based on this information. This is essential if market forces are to work to build good services and expel mediocre ones.
Using assessable information
The current aged care assessment system gives almost everyone full marks and does not separate excellent from good, mediocre and bad. It fails the "market efficacy test" and consequently encourages mediocrity across the board - getting past the basic accreditation requirement is all they need to spend money on. There is no financial benefit in being excellent.
If we are to have a system where the idea of "continuous improvement", central to accreditation theory, gets more than lip service, then the market should reward actual performance.
Potential residents and communities need a system that discriminates between local providers on the basis of actual performance in providing care and quality of life, and also rates their local performance against that nationally so that localities know when they are falling behind and respond.